Houston, TX -- The University of Houston pitching staff repeatedly worked out of jams and held off one final ninth inning rally to defeat No. 24 ranked Southern Miss by a score of 4-2 Friday night at Cougar Field in the Conference USA regular season opener for both teams. With the team's second win in a row the Cougars moved into a tie for first place in the C-USA standings with a 1-0 league record.
Holding a narrow 4-2 lead into top of the ninth the Golden Eagles loaded the bases on three Houston pitchers, but Cougar reliever Matt Hooper struck out the side to end the game with no runs scored. For the game Southern Miss stranded 14 men on base and was a composite 1-for-13 with men in scoring position. The Golden Eagles were also 0-for-3 in at bats with the bases loaded and UH pitchers registered a season-high 14 strikeouts.
Houston scored a run in the bottom of the first and two more in the third to go up 3-0 early in the conest for starting pitcher freshman Brad Sullivan. Sullivan struck out a career-high nine in 5.0 innings of work to earn his first Division I win. Junior designated hitter Josh Snook paced the offense with two hits and by driving in three of the four Cougar runs.
The three-game series will continue with game two on Saturday. First pitch will be at 2:00 p.m. at Cougar Field.
Conference USA Baseball Linescore Southern Miss 000 002 000 -- 2 10 1 Houston 102 000 10x -- 4 7 2 Chad Rogers, Anthony Rawson (8) and Darren Welch; Brad Sullivan, Bryan Harris (6), Keith Whatley (9), Matt Hooper (9) and Chris Snyder. WP- Sullivan (1-4). LP - Rogers (3-2). Save- Hooper (1). 2B- USM: Haley, Montgomery; UH: Bourn, Snook, Klosterman. 3B- none. HR- none. Time- 2:40. Att- 607. Team Records- Southern Miss 13-7, 0-1; Houston 8-16, 1-0.